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20150811_195835It’s a wonderful experience to go into something expecting one thing, but then getting something surprisingly better.

The sun was setting over my shoulder. Making my way down the hill beside our house, my solitary shadow stretched out before me on the lawn as a fitting expression of my longing for the summer day to never end.

We’d just returned from an after-dinner bike ride through town, first to the local ice cream shop and then over to the river bridge to see the dam and enjoy the rushing water. Now we were spending the last few minutes of sunlight talking and laughing and playing in the front yard.

Knowing we’d be going in soon, I was roving toward the pond with the sole intention of inspecting the shore weeds I’d treated the prior night when I heard Madeline’s affectionate voice convey to Jen, “I’m going with Daddy.”

Man, I love that sound. I truly do.

It was only a blink and a smile before I could hear her swift steps in the grass. And then in that same moment, her shadow’s hand took mine.

“Watcha doin’?”

“I’m checking the weeds I sprayed yesterday to see if they’re dying off.”

“Forget the weeds, Daddy,” she beamed and led me in another direction. “Let’s catch frogs!”

Captured for a moment by her eyes, “You’re right,” I thought to myself. “The grass withers and the flower fades without any help from me. I’m home for once, and this day will be over far too soon.”

“Yeah, let’s catch some frogs, honey,” I said.

And we were off.

It wasn’t long before the sound of our voices near the pond resonated as an enticement to the others. Harrison and Evelyn rushed to join us. Jen brought her camera. Even Josh came around the corner to see what was happening.

Man, I love this. I truly do.

Although nothing truly compares with an evening draped in such regalia, let this be a translator for my experience with the Laphroaig Triple Wood edition. I approached the whisky expecting one thing, but received something altogether better.

I’d already been cautioned that the Triple Wood might not be up to par, that is, it might be a disappointing or perhaps disjointed addition to its ancestry. Laphroaig has such a distinct nature about it, and to start fiddling with it doctrinally, well, we worshippers get a bit nervous. That anxiety certainly was upon me when I learned that the Triple Wood was finished in Oloroso sherry casks. Uh-oh. Looks like all I’ll be doing is checking on weeds and then going to bed.

But then it reached out and took me by the hand. It led me to something unexpected.

The nose of the Triple Wood is everything you would expect from Laphroaig – thick, smoky, tarry. In fact, to be quite honest, with the first inhalation came the sense that I’d merely opened another bottle of the Quarter Cask, which is one of my favorites from Laphroaig. And yet, with a little more time and a few more breaths, I noticed the sherry undertone kindled and caught in the breeze. Indeed, there was a magnificent little wisp of sweetness present, well balanced and just barely tickling the nose. Forget the weeds. Forget bedtime. There’s more fun to be had here.

With the first sip I was greeted by an exceptionally full Laphroaig whisky that seemed to have had the juice of a single raspberry squeezed into it. The juice was by no means steering the vessel, just sprinkled in and quite subtle, but very inviting. Almost immediately came the thought, “This could be the whisky that brings the clans together! This could be the one to help the highlanders meet the lowlanders.” In other words, the smoky whiskies are so often avoided by those who appreciate the cleaner, sweeter whiskies. I should know. I was that way for many years. But the palate of this particular edition could be one that helps initiate a friendliness to such folks, almost as if smiling and saying, “Come! Get your hands dirty and catch some frogs!”

The finish was medium, and in a sense, it reflected both the nosing and the palate. However, what began as a gentle sherry undertone in the nose and turned to a temperate raspberry nip in the mouth had become a more conspicuous blackberry to the tongue. All of this was swathed in the gloriously typical Laphroaig liturgy.

Man, I love this. I truly do.